Sober living

Can Tapering Off Alcohol Reduce Withdrawal Symptoms?

Quitting cold turkey is likely to cause more intense withdrawal symptoms than if you taper off alcohol slowly. However, the self-control it takes to taper can be challenging for someone with an AUD. For that reason, it’s best to speak to a doctor or clinician when you’ve decided to stop drinking before you quit cold turkey. There are several reasons that moderation may work better for an individual than complete abstinence.

Triggers: How to Manage and Avoid Them

Because he is a member of a support group that stresses the importance of anonymity at the public level, he does not use his photograph or his real name on this website. Excessive drinking can weaken the immune system, increasing the body’s likelihood of developing an infection. Diseases like pneumonia and tuberculosis are more frequent in individuals who chronically drink. But, as many in recovery will tell you, it is only the first chapter in a long process. Having a plan can help you stay on track and it can keep you safe.

how to taper off alcohol

Prepare for potential alcohol detox

  • Of course, putting these into practice will depend on how much you drink, in what situations you drink, and what your reasons are for reducing your consumption.
  • Medications such as benzodiazepines, gabapentin, or valproate may be used adjunctively to manage persistent symptoms and support the tapering process.

With all of the above established, what can you actually do to help a loved one who is struggling with alcohol use disorder? The answer is complicated, and depends on that person’s individual relationship to alcohol. You may have also noticed, in the course of trying to quit, that abstinence is not a good goal for you. All of these and more are good reasons to consider moderating, or cutting back on your drinking. And it turns out that, contrary to popular belief, this is possible for many people. Overall, recovering from alcoholism is about giving yourself time, caring for yourself, finding a healthy support system, and remaining persistent.

  • So, if you normally have 6 beers a day, you could be done tapering within one week.
  • The brain compensates for the depressive effects of alcohol by increasing its activity.
  • If you feel that you’d like some help quitting alcohol, but don’t have the time or money to go to inpatient or outpatient rehab, there are some options that can make things easier.
  • A doctor can supervise your tapering progress, helping you manage your cravings and prevent relapse.
  • Delamere describes the different stages that you go through while detoxing from alcohol6.
  • The taper schedule must be flexible to accommodate individual responses and progress.

Figure out how much you actually drink

how to taper off alcohol

Try setting non-drinking days, keeping a diary of how much you consume, or even getting your own digital breathalyzer to help you track how much you’ve been drinking. You don’t need to quit completely if that doesn’t work for you, nor do you need to “white-knuckle it” using sheer willpower. Medications now exist that can let you cut back or quit gradually, and reduce your cravings. Not only can these make the process less stressful, they often have a higher success rate than AA or quitting on your own. Ria Health offers a combination of remote medical supervision, anti-craving medication, weekly recovery coaching, online support groups, and app-based tools. A substitution taper refers to switching strong liquor for an alternative that contains less alcohol, like beer.

  • If you’re addicted to alcohol, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to recover without some form of addiction treatment.
  • People looking to quit drinking may consider either tapering or going cold turkey, meaning they abruptly stop all alcohol consumption without weaning.
  • This phenomenon is often described as “alcohol dependence.” The most common more mild withdrawal symptoms include headaches, anxiety, and sleep disturbances.
  • The intensity of the withdrawal symptoms depends on the severity of the alcoholism.
  • Here’s how to wean off alcohol—including useful strategies, how to create a tapering schedule, and how to stay safe throughout the process.

BetterHelp offers affordable mental health care via phone, video, or live-chat. Whether you need advice for yourself or a loved one, the journey starts with a step. Here’s why regular drinking can lead to depression plus advice on mixing alcohol with antidepressants.

  • Satisfying hobbies can distract you from wanting to drink, but they also help you relax — something everyone needs to do.
  • Risk factors contributing to AUD include genetic predisposition, environmental influences, and psychological factors.
  • Additionally, mixed drinks may contain sugar or other additives that could exacerbate withdrawal symptoms and should be avoided during the taper.
  • A structured plan might involve reducing the number of drinks by a set amount at regular intervals to gradually decrease alcohol intake until it reaches zero or a predetermined moderate level.

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